Having referred in press surrounding its release to the "invisibility" that comes with being a middle-aged woman, Alison Moyet's ninth studio album, Other, finds the vocal powerhouse taking on the role of astute observer. It was produced by Guy Sigsworth, who also produced 2013's The Minutes, a recording that returned Moyet to an electronic palette and resulted in her highest-charting record in the U.K. since the '80s. Other shares that album's dramatic, orchestral-electronic flare, but with actual acoustic instrumentation and a sometimes frostier, more intense tone. She sounds confident here, though, not detached, and seems to embrace the act of transformation when declaring "I'm here/I germinate" in the chorus of the opening track. Later, "The English U" incorporates rousing strings, harp, and wordplay, with Moyet delivering lines like "You kept beautiful words in self-carbon pages/As beautiful worlds went missing in stages." Her vocals are as solid as ever throughout, but her most attention-grabbing performance may be "April 10." It's a dramatic poem reading over intermittent whirring electronics, snare, and throbbing bass. ("I wonder if you have ever touched me in some other sea/Against my yesterday skin.") Speaking of bass, the album also offers the club-friendly "Happy Giddy" and the more rock-minded "Beautiful Gun." Still, even the more tender title track, a piano ballad with particularly artful phrasing, is self-assured, asserting "I don't want another rock to hang about my neck." Taken all together, it's a formidable, empowering set, one that's taking charge of the present and not interested in rehashing the past. ~ Marcy Donelson
Magnet - "[W]hether juxtaposed with string sections, dark electronics or thumping beats, Moyet's deeply sonorous voice is still the dramatic center."
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